Why Didn't You Tell Me: A Happy Family Is What Matters


Home is where the Army sends you, right? It is so easy to sit back and think of all the great adventures you will have once you get to your new duty station. Once you get there, that’s a different story.

We have been here almost four years, and there isn’t much hope of leaving any time soon. You see your friends posting on Facebook, “We have new orders! We are finally moving!” But you’re sitting there sipping your wine like, “Yeah, I’m still here. With my wine. And my hopes and dreams of seeing any place other than Augusta before my husband retires.”

Join the Army and see the world! Unless your husband is a Cyber guy, then you can join the Army and stay in Augusta, Georgia. Forever.

No one told me before we moved here that even though Augusta is one of the biggest cities in Georgia, there is still very little to do in this city. Even more depressing -- there is no Cheesecake Factory.

I also was not aware that there are only two seasons here in Augusta. Summer, and mild summer. I miss fall. Germany had the most beautiful fall you will ever experience. Beautiful colors. Perfect weather. Oktoberfest. How can you not love Germany in the fall? I miss and want those moments back more than anything. It’s the one place that I regret not enjoying enough while we were there. Looking back, those were some of the best moments of my life, whether I knew it at the time or not. All of the traveling we did. The amazing places. The beer. Oh the beer.

PCS Gods -- please take us back to Germany!

Instead of snow in Augusta, we get massive amounts of pollen. It’s all fun and games until your Zyrtec bottle is empty, and you’re hosing your car, deck, patio table, yourself and everything in existence to wash the pollen away. You never know how much you will miss snow until you don’t get to see it anymore. And when there is the off chance on the one day a year that there “may” be snow, forget going to the store because everyone and their mother is there for bread, milk and eggs. I gave into the hype last time, went to the store for my bread, milk, eggs and wine. The snow never arrived. But we had our essentials for the weekend!

Sometimes it’s even harder “friend dating” than dealing with anything else when it comes to a new or current duty station. Four years later, I am still mostly friendless with the exception of a friend here and there. It sometimes seems as if it gets harder the older you get, and the longer your spouse is in the Army. The older we get, the more private we get. For myself and my husband, anyway. We prefer our quiet nights at home, but sometimes we do miss the great times we had with some of the most amazing people we have met during my husband's career.

One of the most difficult things you will ever face as a military family is leaving behind friends who became part of your family. Sometimes, when you make friends like that, it is almost impossible to make friends like that again. Sure, you will still meet great people. But the kindred spirits and friends that are more like family are harder than ever to come by. And that sometimes makes a move or a long term stay in one place even more difficult. It’s doubly hard when you’re an introvert and you make small talk while trying to meet people way more awkward than it should be.

There will always be that one place that we don’t prefer. And that’s ok. It’s ok to not always love where the Army sends you. If anyone tells you that they have loved every single place they have ever been, they’re lying. Unless they have been in Europe for their entire career. Then they are probably telling the truth. But, no matter where you are and no matter how much you despise or love where you are, the important thing to remember is that it isn’t always permanent. I have to tell myself this daily. And who knows, maybe it is permanent for our family until my husband retires.

But my family is together. My family is happy. That is what matters.

Jana is a stay-at-home mom with two kids and a wonderful husband, as well as a Great Dane and two kitties. While it may sound like a small zoo, she loves every minute of it. Jana recently graduated with a bachelor's degree, and will start a master's program soon. In her spare time, she loves traveling with her family, baking, Pinterest, wine, writing and listening to 90’s music.

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